PS Cafe sends a text message to diners who have made a reservation informing them that a $50 diner penalty will be imposed for no-shows.
A reader wrote in to share this article. Apparently, some restaurants in Singapore are levying fines on people who don’t turn up for a reservation they made, or show up with fewer people than they reserved for.
More restaurants fine for no-shows
If you booked a table at restaurant and do not turn up, be careful, you might be charged a fee for that.
More local restaurants, especially the high-end ones, are now imposing fines for last-minute cancellations or no-shows, reported the Straits Times.
Typically, large groups of diners are asked to fill up a form with credit card details to confirm a reservation. They will be charged for complete no-shows or if they cancel within 24-hours of their reservation.
So far, fine-dining outlets such as Cut, Gunther’s, Garibaldi, Waku Ghin, The Line and Ember have taken up this measure in a bid to ensure that patrons commit to their bookings.
Restaurants also hope this move will help to prevent food wastages and lost revenue on the restaurant’s end.
Fine-dining outlet Cut’s general manager, Adam Crocini, said: “It is a form of insurance so that people will take the time to be considerate and call back if they are unable to come.”
“You base your staffing and preparations in the kitchen on the reservations, and when 10 or 20 per cent of your guests don’t show up, it’s a significant amount and affects the running of the business,” he added. Cut charges groups of 10 or more only in the event of a complete no-show.
French restaurant, Gunther, took a harder stance for groups of five or more. Each is charged $240 if the party cancels within 24 hours and $350 for complete no-shows.
Another restaurant Garibaldi, which serves Italian cuisine, charges $30 per-diner for cancellation within 24 hours and $60 for no-show. It does not charge if only part of the group turns up.
While the no-show policy varies with restaurants, not all are clear about their rules.
ST reported that teacher Victor Seng has a rude shock halfway through dinner at PS Cafe, when he and his friends were asked by the restaurant to pay $50 for the no-show of one diner.
Despite having been informed by text message about the penalty beforehand, they thought it would not apply if the rest turned up. Thus the group went on with their dinner plans without notifying the restaurant about the sudden pullout of one person.
In the end, after negotiating with a waiter, they were asked to order one more main course in lieu of the fine. However, PS Cafe manager Simon Ho said such a policy, which was implemented last year, only applies to groups of 15 or more.
With remorse, Mr Ho told ST that: “Investigations show that a staff member was using the policy for smaller groups without my knowledge. A mistake was made.”
Consumers Association of Singapore executive director Seah Seng Choon said in the same report: “As long as the rules are clear, it is up to the consumers to decide whether they want to be subjected to them.”
Such policies are common in popular restaurants in countries like Australia and the United States.
What do you think of this practice? Are the restaurants’ reservation policies and fines justified? Share your thoughts in the comments!